Life is Rosy

Make these Soft Gingerbread Cookies for Christmas

Decorated Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Decorated Gingerbread Cookies

“My soft gingerbread cookies are perfect for Christmas, whether you’re building a gingerbread house or decorating gingerbread men with the family.”

– Jessa Marie

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Every year I bake gingerbread cookies for the Christmas potluck at my company. But this year we’re all working from home during December because Toronto is back on lockdown. 

And even though I was kind of sad that we wouldn’t get to do all the company Christmas events this year, I still wanted to continue the tradition of baking gingerbread cookies. But plot twist, I decided to go with making my own gingerbread cookie recipe this year!

Introducing my super easy soft gingerbread cookie recipe for the holidays!

Soft Gingerbread Cookies Recipe for Christmas

Even though I used this recipe to make gingerbread men, you can also use it for making a gingerbread house from scratch.

Ever since a friend of mine taught me how to build and decorate a gingerbread house for the first time in university, I’ve been obsessed with gingerbread houses.

And for the last two years, my childhood friend and I have designed, baked, built, and decorated a gingerbread house from scratch.

So while I was experimenting, I made sure that even though this is a soft gingerbread cookie recipe, it’s still strong enough to be used for a house. As long as you make the walls thick enough, of course.

So I challenge all of you to try baking and decorating a gingerbread house from scratch this year. It’s a lot of work, but it’s honestly one of my favourite Christmas traditions. And you have no excuse because I’m already giving you the recipe!

What makes gingerbread cookies soft and chewy?

The key to making soft and chewy gingerbread cookies is using the right ingredients and measurements. It’s all about maintaining a good ratio between the 5 main structural ingredients of a gingerbread cookie:

The butter, brown sugar, and molasses are what make gingerbread cookies soft and chewy. And the egg and flour help maintain the cookie dough structure.

I use the same amount of butter, brown sugar, and molasses, so all 3 ingredients have a 1:1 ratio between them.

I found that if I add too much flour, my gingerbread cookies come out dry and almost tasteless. So I use just enough flour to maintain the soft gingerbread cookie dough structure. In ratio terms, it’s a 9:2 ratio between the flour and molasses.

Your gingerbread cookie dough ends up being really sticky, but I’ll show you how to deal with that.

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Soft Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

Icing

Tools

Gingerbread Men

How do you make soft gingerbread cookies from scratch?

First you start by gathering all your ingredients, a large mixing bowl, and a wooden spoon. You can use a hand mixer, but I prefer mixing my gingerbread cookie dough with a spoon.

We’re going to start with the wet ingredients first. Add your ½ cup of softened butter and your ½ cup of brown sugar to the bowl, and mix until properly creamed together. 

When your butter mixture is sufficiently creamed, add in your ½ cup of molasses, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tbsp milk to the mixture. Continue to mix until the batter is well combined, and your butter mixture starts to break down into little chunks.

Then you want to add in your 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt, ½ tbsp ginger, ½ tsp cinnamon, ⅛ tsp cloves, and ⅛ tsp nutmeg, and mix well. Your batter should look like the image below afterwards.

After Adding All of the Spices

Finally, you want to add in your 2 ¼ cups of flour, one third at a time, while you alternate mixing your dough. This just makes it easier to fully combine the flour with the wet mixture when making a consistent dough. And helps to get rid of any random chunks of flour or butter while mixing.

Great! You finished mixing your soft gingerbread cookie dough. Now you want to cover and refrigerate it for at least an hour.

Preparing your soft gingerbread cookies for the oven

Before you take your gingerbread cookie dough out of the refrigerator, you want to preheat your oven to 350° F and prep your cookie cutting workstation. 

You’ll need parchment paper, extra flour (about ¼ cup), a rolling pin, and gingerbread men cookie cutters.

I like to do my cookie cutting on a sheet of parchment paper and then transfer that sheet onto my baking pan. This way my gingerbread men don’t get stretched out and distorted.

I start by cutting a sheet of parchment paper the same length as my baking pan, and then I lightly flour its surface with some (not all) of the extra flour I set aside.

Then I get my gingerbread cookie dough out of the fridge, and begin the cookie cutting process. 

Soft Gingerbread Cookie Dough

I like to start by flouring my hands and taking a little ball of dough, enough for 1 or 2 gingerbread men. 

Then I roll it out onto my parchment paper to a ¼ inch thickness, and use my cookie cutter to make 1 or 2 gingerbread men, 1 inch apart from one another. 

Then I just peel away the excess after I cut them. I repeat these steps, until I’ve made enough gingerbread men to fill my baking pan.

Cookie Cutting Magic

When you do it this way, it makes it easier to roll out your cookie dough, and peel away the excess dough around your gingerbread men. 

If you find that your dough is sticking to your rolling pin, just sprinkle a little flour on both. 

After you fill your sheet, transfer it onto your baking pan, and bake your gingerbread men for 8-10 minutes. When they’re done, let them completely cool before decorating (about 5-10 minutes).

How to make gingerbread cookie icing

Gingerbread cookie icing is really easy to make. You just take 3 tbsp of milk and 1 cup of icing sugar, and mix until the two are completely combined. 

The result should be a thick drizzle icing that doesn’t have too much liquid, but is still easy enough to control while icing your cookies. This means that it should flow out of a piping bag slowly and consistently.

When you decorate your cookies, fill a piping bag with your icing, and cut the tip off at the end to make a very small hole for your icing to flow out of. 

Remember that you’re doing very detailed piping work, so the hole should be tiny. You don’t want your icing coming out in giant blobs on your cookie.

You can decorate with just icing like I did, or use sprinkles and small candies too. Get creative!

Soft Gingerbread Cookies Recipe for Christmas

I hope you enjoyed my soft gingerbread cookie recipe. For more easy baking recipes like this one subscribe to Life is Rosy with the form below. 

And in the mean time check out my other baking recipes like my pumpkin or apple pie recipes, perfect for the holidays. Thanks for baking with Life is Rosy!

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Easy Soft Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Make these easy soft gingerbread cookies with your family this Christmas. Even a beginner baker can make them, and it’s a great holiday tradition to start with your family.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookie recipe, gingerbread cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Refrigeration Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 38 minutes
Servings 30 cookies
Calories 90kcal
Cost $30

Equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • parchment paper
  • Rolling Pin
  • Christmas Cookie Cutters
  • Baking Pan
  • Piping Bag

Ingredients

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour extra for cookie cutting

Icing

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
  • Next mix in molasses, egg, vanilla, and milk with a wooden spoon, until well combined.
  • Then add in baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the batter, mixing well.
  • Finally add in your flour, one third at a time, mixing your dough between additions, until you have a consistent sticky dough.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Cut a sheet of parchment paper the same length as your baking pan, and flour the surface.
  • Next roll out your cookie dough on your floured parchment paper to a 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle some flour on your dough and your rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to it. Do this in small batches to make it easier to roll out.
  • Use your cookie cutter to make gingerbread men 1-2 inches apart from one another from your rolled out cookie dough.
  • Then peel away the excess cookie dough around your gingerbread men.
  • Repeat steps 8-10 until your sheet is filled.
  • Transfer your parchment paper to your baking pan and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Repeat steps 7-12 until you’ve finished baking all your cookie dough into gingerbread men.
  • Allow cookies to completely cool before decorating.
  • In a small bowl, mix icing ingredients (milk and icing sugar) until well combined. Then pour icing into a piping bag.
  • When you’re ready to start decorating, cut a tiny hole at the tip of the piping bag, and start piping! Add small candies or sprinkles for more yummy decorations. Enjoy your soft gingerbread cookies!

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